With the Army no longer required to be large enough to conduct sustained counterinsurgency campaigns like it did in Iraq and Afghanistan, it will go down from 45 brigades to 38, part of a planned reduction of 80,000 soldiers from 570,000 to 490,000. The Army will also begin emulating a practice long used by its Special Forces. Army brigades will be pre-focused for certain parts of the world so that they become expert in local languages and culture.
The already planned reduction in the number of Marines will be larger than expected as it is reduced in size from 202,000 to 182,000. The reduction in forces for both services will still leave them larger than they were prior to 9/11.
The Air Force will lose six of its 60 fighter squadrons -- estimated to be between 108 and 144 aircraft -- as well as 27 of its oldest giant C-5A cargo planes and 65 of the oldest C-130's still flying. Seven Navy cruisers and two amphibious ships will be retired early.
Attempting to tackle the rising costs in military benefits, Panetta announced that the Defense Department would recommend increases in health care enrollment fees, pharmacy co-pays and deductibles paid by retirees under the age of 65.
Panetta also recommended that Congress form a commission to review military retirement benefits. He said any binding recommendations the panel arrived at would not affect any military members serving at the time, but only apply to new recruits.